All it took was one emoji to expose the soul-sucking nature of covering sports today, where grown men and women with college degrees are forced to chase after inanity.

In a cryptic tweet Monday, Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas shared an eyeball emoji. Chaos ensued, with assistant general manager Mike Zarren saying roughly 20 reporters contacted him to ask whether the team was acquiring a new player. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.

The journalists who reached out to Zarren were doing their due diligence. In 2017, a player’s social media activity can serve as a harbinger of major trades or free agent signings. Last summer, Thomas tweeted out the same two-eye emoji before the Celtics inked Al Horford to a five-year contract.

Though it’s possible Thomas was sending out a covert signal –– the Celtics also followed Carmelo Anthony on Instagram Monday night, along with Taylor Swift and Nike –– he may have been trolling the media. That appears to be what Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving was doing last week when he told reporters he thinks the earth is flat. In today’s hyperactive news cycle, seemingly anything a famous person says is considered news, regardless of how absurd it is. Even though the science definitively says the earth is round, Irving’s comment was perhaps the biggest story during NBA All-Star Weekend.

“I think that there’s just so much, I guess — I don’t know if you can even call it news — there are so many real things going on, actual, like, things that are going on that’s changing the shape, the way of our lives,” Irving said Saturday, via ESPN. “And I think it sometimes gets skewed because of who we are in the basketball world, and, ‘Oh man, what does he actually think? Oh, no, I don’t like hearing … the world is flat, or he thinks the world can’t be round.’

“You know, I know the science, I know everything possible — not everything possible — but the fact that that actually could be real news, that people are actually asking me that — ‘It’s a social phenomenon. What do you think about it? Are you going to try to protect your image?’ I mean, it really doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter. The fact that it’s a conversation? I’m glad that it got people talking like this: ‘Kyrie actually thinks the world is flat.'”

Sure enough, Thomas’ possibly innocuous tweet sparked headlines on countless sports blogs. We content curators are parasites, prepared to cultivate page views from meaningless drivel. It’s part of the feeding frenzy.

This phenomenon is nothing new. People have long been interested in what celebrities say and do. In today’s world, stars are more accessible than ever before. It makes sense for websites to report on nearly every detail of their social media activity. Thomas’ emoji may have meant absolutely nothing, but now, it’s a part of the Celtics trade deadline narrative. It doesn’t matter whether it actually is indicative of a forthcoming trade. He typed it with his thumbs, and that’s good enough.

Next thing you know, we’ll have a president who’s capable of controlling entire news cycles by firing off insane and erratic tweets. Oh, wait…

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
Hour 4. Trenni, Kirk, and Gerry react to John Provost's interview.
John Provost defends the decision to discontinue High Five Fridays.
Hour 3. Kirk and Gerry ask Trenni why she didn't report Swihart's problems.
Hour 2. Headlines with Kirk.
Red Sox manager John Farrell joins the show in Fort Myers to talk baseball, not personal matters.
Hour 1. Kirk and Gerry discuss the trade rumors surrounding the Celtics. Northampton ends High Five Fridays.
Curt Schilling was hired by Breitbart News in October. (David Manning/USA TODAY Sports)

Curt Schilling was hired by Breitbart News in October. (David Manning/USA TODAY Sports)

Breitbart News radio host Curt Schilling appeared ready to defend his colleague, Milo Yiannopoulos, for supporting sexual relationships between young boys and men. Then he heard Yiannopoulous’ comments, and took everything back.

In a series of tweets Monday, Schilling first attempted to point out a double standard when it comes to how pedophilia is viewed. He cited Woody Allen and Roman Polanski as examples of stars who remain revered despite their sordid pasts.

But then Schilling apparently watched video of Yiannopoulos’s appearance on the “Drunken Peasants” podcast, which was posted on Twitter Sunday by a conservative group called the Reagan Battalion. In it, the senior Breitbart editor seems to dismiss the seriousness of pedophilia –– even joking that he performs better sexually because he was molested as a child.

“We get hung up on this child abuse stuff. … This is one of the reasons why I hate the left, the one size fits all policing of culture, this arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent,” he said. “I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”

Yiannopoulos, who’s spouted inflammatory views against Muslims, immigrants and transgender people, also attempts to differentiate between pedophilia and pederasty.

“Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody who is 13 years old and sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty, who do not have functioning sex organs yet, who have not gone through puberty,” he said. “In the gay world, some of the most important enriching, and incredibly life-affirming, important, shaping relationships are between younger boys and older men. They can be hugely positive experiences very often for those young boys.”

Schilling apologized once he became aware of Yiannopoulos’s actual comments, saying he’ll accept any criticism that comes his way.

Schilling is far from the only conservative who’s distanced himself from Yiannopoulos this week. The alt-right megastar and prominent Donald Trump supporter was disinvited Monday from the Conservative Police Action Conference, where he was slated to give the keynote address. His book deal with publisher Simon & Schuster was cancelled as well.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

Good morning, here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Chicago at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Purdue at Penn State, 6 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: URI at La Salle, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Clemson at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Baylor, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: South Carolina at Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Davidson at Richmond, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Northwestern at Illinois, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: St. John’s at Marquette, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: East Carolina at Tulane, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Indiana at Iowa, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Mississippi at Mississippi State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Colorado State at New Mexico, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Boston College athletic director Brad Bates announced on Monday he won’t return to the school after  his contract is up at the end of the school year. He plans to join Collegiate Sports Associates, an executive search and consulting firm in North Carolina as the vice president.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Boston College and am especially grateful for the opportunity to serve the University,” Bates said in a statement. “I will forever be an Eagle and a fan of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff, and will cherish the great relationships that I have made here.”

Both the Boston College basketball and football teams saw some of their worst seasons in history during his tenure. In the 2015-2016 season, neither team won an ACC game for the first time in over 70 years.

However, other BC teams found success under his leadership. The men’s soccer team reached the Elite Eight in 2015, the women’s hockey team made it to the national championship game in 2016, baseball got to the Super Regional in 2016 and men’s hockey reached the Frozen Four in 2014 and 2016.

“The Jesuit, Catholic education offered at BC is distinctive in higher education and epitomizes the very best of college athletics,” the statement also read. “I feel privileged to be a part of this community.”

— The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans on Sunday and Cousins appeared emotional as he delivered a goodbye speech to fans in Sacramento on Monday.

“My love for this city has never changed,” he said. “My love for this city has never changed. Even though I’m gone, it’ll still be the same. You know, I’m still lookin’ out for these kids. Every family in this city matters to me; every soul in this city matters to me. Everything’s the same. I’m just not in a Kings uniform anymore, which is OK, because, you know, the love is still here. It’s still gonna go on.”

The two teams announced the trade on Monday.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We were talking amongst ourselves telling everyone, ‘We’re going to pull this off. This is going to be a great story.’ [We were] 100 percent [convinced], no doubt in our minds. Everyone was walking around there more than confident.” — Chris Hogan, on the Patriots during halftime of the Super Bowl

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge

The Red Sox are entering Spring Training with high expectations. Manager John Farrell says he’s OK with that.

In an interview with Kirk & Callahan Tuesday, Farrell said the team is anxious to get back to work after a bitter ending to last season. Though the Red Sox won 93 games and retook the division, they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Indians.

“[Last season] left a pretty crappy taste in all of our mouths, as abruptly as it finished,” Farrell said. “Winning the division is certainly something that we’re all proud of. And with this particular team, I think a building block. Because of the taste it left in our mouths, we come back here and we’re hungry. The pace and the energy has been shown here in Spring Training. We are looking forward to the work ahead.”

For the first time in 15 years, the Red Sox will start a season without David Ortiz. While his production in the lineup will be missed, Farrell said the void his absence leaves in the locker room will be have to be replaced as well.

“Let’s say we go through a stretch where things aren’t clicking and there’s a little bit of a rallying point in our clubhouse –– David was always a guy who stood up and spoke,” he said. “I think a number of players would look to him because of his experience and the number of ups and downs he’s gone through or we’ve gone through in this city. And he was a voice of reason and a sounding board for a lot of guys. And more than anything, I think he exuded a lot of confidence for others to feed off of.”

One of the keys to the Red Sox’s success in a post-Ortiz world will be the performance of Pablo Sandoval. After only playing in three games last season, he showed up to camp in better shape this year. While that’s encouraging, Farrell said Sandoval will have to earn back his everyday spot in the lineup.

“It’s his job to reclaim,” he said. “The one thing about our team is, we like the versatility and depth that’s in this roster. If that’s Brock Holt at third base platooning with Josh Rutledge, then that’s an alternative. But the most important thing is, Panda is well understanding of what’s ahead of him. He’s done a great job of getting himself back in the conditioning he needs. That’s the first step. So the next step is going between the lines and reclaiming [it].”

David Price’s first season in Boston wasn’t a failure –– he led the league in innings pitched and struck out 228 batters –– but he fell short of delivering on his Cy Young expectations. His disastrous start against the Indians in the playoffs, in which he allowed five runs in 3.1 innings, rekindled questions about his ability to pitch in October as well (his career postseason record as a starter is 0-8). Farrell said Price understands his shortcomings, and is in a position to improve.

“Last year, I thought he had a good year for us,” he said. “I wouldn’t say a great year, obviously. But when you look at 230 innings pitched, 17 wins, a career high in strikeouts, there’s a lot of things that have gone well for him. And yet, since the expectations are very lofty at times, it might have fallen short on some people’s part. But I would expect with David, knowing him now after a year, knowing the environment we’re all working in and pitching in, he’s going to be a little more comfortable than a year ago.”

Chris Sale will join Price and Cy Young winner Rick Porcello at the top of the rotation this season, giving the Red Sox perhaps the best 1-2-3 punch in the league. Though Sale just arrived in camp, Farrell said he can already see why the lefty is such a dominating force on the mound.

“You look at the stuff, the age that he is, the stuff that he has, the consistent performer he is,” he said. “Watching him here for the first time –– standing behind the cage and watching –– it’s a very uncomfortable at-bat, and you’ve got a fierce competitor inside the person. So you combine it with the physical abilities, he’s going to be an extremely successful pitcher here.”

With Sale, Price and Porcello at the top of the rotation, Farrell may not have to go to his bullpen too often. But when he does,  his moves will be heavily scrutinized. At several points last season, the Red Sox skipper came under fire for his befuddling in-game moves. In response to that criticism, Farrell said he’s always looking to improve.

“I think if there’s anybody that’s committed to their craft, regardless of their walk of life, if they don’t self-reflect, self-review, maybe they’re just looking to pass time and move on through. So yeah, I look at that,” he said. “I’ll say this: in response to your criticism, I don’t know that you have all of the information available for those decisions that are made during the game. I understand there’s going to be two sides, and the great thing about our game is that it’s debatable.”

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer